Bethan Evans, Reporter
Sunday, April 15, 2012
FOUR friends embarked on a 22-mile walk from Weston’s town centre to a Bristol school wearing animal jumpsuits to raise money for charity.
Teenagers Robert Lathan, of Weston, Steven Wride, of Wick St Lawrence, Chris Spear, of Keynsham – all aged 18 – and 17-year-old Thomas Challen, of Cribbs Causeway, strolled the streets of Weston and carried on until they reached Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School in Bristol.
The four friends finished the route along the A370 and through Long Ashton to raise money for the mental health charity MIND, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the charity Compassionate Friends, which provide a lifeline for the support of bereaved parents and siblings.
These charities were chosen by the four friends, in memory of Adam Hunt who was brought to their attention by their English teacher at the Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital School.
Robert said: “In relation to Adam Hunt, unfortunately, we didn’t know him. However, our English teacher Stephanie McGrane told us he was her auntie’s relative and drowned to death, aged 19, in Zante, Greece, due to serious mental health problems and we wanted to help out with the charities.
“Adam was an amazing young man with, we thought, a golden life ahead. He was a high achiever, pushing himself to the limit in every way possible, always striving to be better whether it was as captain of his school’s most successful 1st XV, in exams or at work.”
Robert said many questions around Adam’s death remain unanswered, including whether he may have been suffering from undiagnosed and unrecognised bipolar disorder, which can onset in high-achieving young men aged 18–24, and the friends wanted to highlight this.
Robert said: “Teenagers may not just be moody, they could be displaying early signs of serious mental health problems. This is the reason for choosing MIND as one of the charities we are supporting to raise funds in Adam’s memory, five years after he died.”
Robert said they have raised more than £600.
He said: “All of us thought the walk and the money raised for charity was rewarding. It was tiring, but overall, an amazing experience to say the least.”
Miss McGrane said: “The boys have done an amazing job here and really made a difference.
“I am very proud of them, and also humbled by what they’ve all done as they didn’t even know Adam but have shown true spirit and kindness, voluntarily giving their time and effort in a bid to help others.”